NTF ELCAC: HR defenders bill insidious threat vs democracy

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict on Monday.

House Bill 77 or Human Defenders Bill is as a “grave, vicious, and insidious threat” against democracy that will make the Anti-Terrorism Act, Anti-Money Laundering Law as amended, and the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act, among others, a mere “toothless paper tigers.”

In a press conference, National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said the “Human Rights Defenders’ Protection Act” would “cripple” the government’s anti-insurgency initiatives.

Malaya, who also chairs the NTF ELCAC Strategic Communications Cluster, said the government will continue its efforts “to debunk the lies and manipulation” of the CPP, its armed wing New People’s Army, and its political wing National Democratic Front along with its legal front organizations.

“We are not red-tagging. We are here to express the position of the NTF ELCAC and to expose the propaganda or the lies that are being utilized by these groups to sow confusion among the public,” Malaya said.

The government’s anti-insurgency task force also expressed strong opposition to the proposed measure as it calls the public to “unequivocally reject” and support the junking of HB 77.

He echoed National Security Adviser Eduardo Año’s guidance to the task force “to revitalize and invigorate” the NTF ELCAC under the Marcos administration.

“This means there will be no letup in the efforts of the NTF ELCAC,” he said.

Malaya also announced that the NTF ELCAC will be relaunching its weekly press conference “to directly confront the propaganda campaign of the communist terrorist groups or CTGs.

There are only four NPA guerilla fronts that are now operating nationwide.

Assistant Solicitor General, Justice Angelita Miranda, who chairs the NTF ELCAC Legal Cluster, emphasized that the efforts they are pursuing have nothing to do with red-tagging.

“I’ve seen with my naked eyes how the CTGs, the CPP-NPA-NDF, and its front groups are poisoning our youth. How we file cases, how we champion the rule of law before the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals,” she said.

Miranda said the NTF ELCAC has prepared a 24-page opposition paper against the passage of HB 77 amid its Constitutional and legal infirmities.

The government’s anti-insurgency programs and projects, she said, are “definitely hurting the CTGs and undoing the socio-economic reverses” that they have been inflicting, especially in the countryside.

“Thus, in an attempt to recoup from their immense losses and due to their dire current situation, they are obviously grasping for a straw to survive at least past this year by introducing legislation that, if enacted into law, will give them a certain degree of immunity and an unhampered discretion of destroying whatever that comes to their path and, eventually, in destabilizing our democratic way of life,” she added.

Miranda stressed that the communist front organizations in Congress are trying to make safe havens and sanctuaries for the communists by pushing HB 77.

Describing it as a communist terrorist groups bill, Miranda said HB 77 gives unjustified preferential treatment by ensuring protection to anyone who claims to be a human rights defender.

The definition of “human rights defender”, is vague and duplicitous, she added.

She said the impending HB 77 will only duplicate the mandates of the Commission of Human Rights and if passed into law, it will only make the existing human rights body “useless.”

Introducing HB 77 to supposedly implement a non-binding United Nations Resolution dated 9 December 1998, which is not even a treaty under international law, she said, is a patent encroachment by the legislature into the exclusive domain of the Executive branch of the government.

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